Saturday, September 9, 2017

Is There Rock After Punk?

Iggy Pop : The Passenger

On September 9, 1977 Iggy Pop released his second David Bowie produced album of the year. While The Idiot was a dark reflection of where Iggy was in the years before he teamed up with Bowie, Lust For Life sounds like a man who has found a new reason to live. There are still some dark moments, including the title track and "Tonight" which deals with his heroin abuse: I saw my baby/ She was turning blue/ Oh, I knew that soon/ Her young life was through".

Lust For Life is Iggy Pop's best selling album of all time and his only gold record.

For Rolling Stone, Billy Altman wrote:

Iggy Pop's second comeback album leaves one with ambivalent feelings: glad that Iggy is alive, apparently well, writing, singing and performing again, but upset because his new stance is so utterly unchallenging and cautious. Taken purely on its own terms, Lust for Life is a successful album. Side one is quite good, starting with the title cut, which rocks with a Sandy Nelson-like drum style while Iggy delivers his survivor message to the masses, and continuing to the closing track, "Tonight," easily the most straightforward pop song Iggy has written. Side two is considerably weaker, with a pair of overdrawn ballads, an infectious throwaway and one bona fide winner, the ominous "Neighborhood Threat."

 Were this just another album by just another artist, that might be the end of it, but Iggy Pop has never been just another entertainer. As rock's truest bad boy, Iggy led the Stooges with a vision of frustrated, depressed and angry young adult life that will probably never be seen (or dared) again. That he has come back from the edge relatively intact is almost a miracle. With David Bowie as producer and guide, he is actually realizing a career for the first time. Like Lou Reed, Iggy is most likely headed on a course just left of center, bizarre enough to attract those inclined toward something different but safe enough not to scare them away. 

 It is questionable, though, whether Iggy has anything important left to say. To make any art in the future, he would probably have to start self-destructing, and neither he nor any of us really want to see him crawling through the broken glass again. Here comes success, Iggy, and you deserve it more than just about any perform I've ever seen or heard. I just wish there were some way that your music could be important and your life happy at the same time.

Robert Christgau gave the albim an A minus grade , writing:

If The Idiot exploits the (trance-prone) affinity for the slow rocker that Bowie evinced on Station to Station, this reestablishes the (apollonian) affinity for the dionysiac artist Bowie made so much of five years ago on Mott's All the Young Dudes. Like most rock and rollers, I prefer this to The Idiot because it's faster and more assertive -- which means, among other things, that the nihilistic satire is counteracted by the forward motion of the music itself. 

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